House, Senate negotiators reach deal on defense policy bill

But this year’s bill faces a legitimate threat of a presidential veto.


The House was slated to approve the measure Wednesday afternoon, but GOP leaders need Democratic votes to balance out opposition from tea party supporters of “defunding” Planned Parenthood. “This was a mistake, and it’s why people are so frustrated with Washington”, said Sen.

“This bill is a product of work from both sides of the aisle and both sides of the Capitol”, Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry of Texas said on the House floor before the vote. A vote is expected Thursday afternoon.

The bill has $515 billion for national defense and $89 billion that will go into an overseas war fund. It also has a variety of military personnel reforms, including an historic overhaul of the 20-year retirement system, reductions in headquarters staffing, and hikes in Tricare prescription fees. But it’s how those total funds are divvied up that the White House is fighting.

As lawmakers unveiled the deal’s details Tuesday, Pentagon spokesman Peter Cook said Defense Secretary Ash Carter will still recommend a veto of the legislation.

“Let’s be honest. This bill is not really about helping these victims”.

The measure also extends the expiring charter of the Federal Aviation Commission and funds emergency measures to fight wildfires, and was passed with a vote of 277-151.

-authorizes lethal assistance to Ukraine forces fighting Russian-backed rebels. The administration has been weighing that decision for months. More Republicans voted against the spending bill than in favor of it, however.

In its overhaul of acquisition policy, the bill would put more power in the hands of service branch chiefs to control major contracts, a loss of power for the Pentagon’s central weapons-buying office.

“I’m glad the United States of America will never again to be able to do things that they did before, which was such a bad stain on our national honor”, McCain said. “Now the signature of the service chiefs will be on a piece of paper”, McCain said. “But the bill locks in place another year in which there’s no possibility whatsoever of closing Guantanamo…There’s no reason on earth we can’t hold them here”.

The bill would prevent a repeat of the partial federal shutdown of two years ago and finance the government through December 11, which will provide 10 weeks of time to negotiate a more wide-ranging budget deal for the rest of fiscal 2016, which ends on September 30, 2016.


Moreover, it bans detainees from being transferred to Yemen, Libya, Somalia or Syria, although congressional staff members said it didn’t appear the administration had any intention of transferring any to these volatile nations. One day after the White House reaffirmed Obama’s plans to veto the bill, Hoyer called it, “the Republican sneak-around strategy”.

Carter speaks to reporters during a news conference at the Pentagon. The defense policy bill is one of the few bipartisan measures in Congress that has become law for more than a half-century. No